February 7, 2017
FREDERICTON (GNB) – Today and Monday, February 13th, two events that aim to boost the number of women in elected politics will take place in Fredericton: Daughters of the Vote and Women for 50%. The New Brunswick Women’s Council welcomes the growing movement to increase the number of women participating in elected politics in the province while emphasizing that changes to the political process are needed to address the issue.
“In New Brunswick, we have yet to see a Legislative Assembly that truly reflects the population of our province,” said council co-chair Jody Dallaire. “Even in 2017, only eight of the 49 members are women.”
Daughters of the Vote is an initiative of Equal Voice, an organization dedicated to increasing the participation of women in Canadian politics. Through Daughters of the Vote, an emerging young woman leader from each federal riding across the country will visit Ottawa on March 8th, International Women’s Day, and take their riding seat in Parliament. Today, the selected leaders from New Brunswick ridings attended the Budget Speech and a panel on engaging more young women in Canadian politics with MLAs Monique LeBlanc and Dorothy Shephard.
Women for 50% is an initiative launched by a coalition of women with the goal of seeing women comprise 50% of candidates in the 2018 provincial election. Monday’s free, day-long conference kicks off the initiative’s on-the-ground efforts to provide women with tools to run. The council and the Regroupement féministe du Nouveau-Brunswick are providing subject matter expertise to the initiative.
“These events are part of a long tradition of women’s grassroots organizing to address critical equality issues,” said council co-chair Jennifer Richard. “It is clear that increasing the number of women in elected office is a priority in the struggle for gender equality.”
While the council supports these initiatives, it advises that government must also change the political process in order to address the barriers to participation faced by those who have traditionally been excluded from decision-making tables. The council recommends New Brunswick move to an electoral system of Mixed Member Proportional Representation and introduce financial incentives for parties to run slates of diverse candidates.
“We cannot lose sight of the systemic changes that are required,” said council executive director Beth Lyons. “Women rolling up their sleeves, as they have always done, to address inequality does not absolve government of its obligation to take action on issues.”
Media contact: Beth Lyons, Executive Director, New Brunswick Women’s Council
[email protected] Tel. 506-462-5142